Online video platform YouTube has said it will disable user comments on almost all videos featuring children. The move comes after recent reports of pedophile activity targeting such content.
YouTube has said it will block comments on most videos featuring minors after reports that pedophiles were leaving inappropriate comments and connections to child porn alongside innocuous content showing children.
A YouTube creator, Matt Watson, revealed last week that a glitch was allowing such comments and connections to be shown next to the videos. The news prompted a number of advertisers to pull their ads.
The move comes as YouTube and other internet platforms face increasing calls to prevent hate speech, violence and conspiracy theories from being promulgated online.
The company, owned by internet giant Google, said on Thursday that it would take several months to turn off comments on videos featuring minors but called the step an important move to protect children.
"We recognize that comments are a core part of the YouTube experience and how you connect with and grow your audience," the platform said in a posted message to creators of videos. "At the same time, the important steps we're sharing today are critical for keeping young people safe."
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki also tweeted that her company had made the safety of children a priority.
Google said that a small number of channels with videos featuring minors would be allowed to retain the comment function, but would be asked to actively and independently monitor the comments to ensure no inappropriate content was posted.
YouTube lost many advertisers last year amid concerns that the platform was hosting objectionable material in the form of messages promoting such things as conspiracy theories and white nationalism.
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tj/sms (AFP, AP)